LANXESS contacted Lybover METAL for the conversion of a dryer at its site in Kallo. LANXESS has four plants in the port of Antwerp that produce a diversified range of intermediate products for plastics and rubbers mainly used in the automotive industry.

The Lybover way

LANXESS’ core business is the manufacture, development and sale of plastics, rubbers, semi-finished products and chemical specialties. Kallo is home to the rubber chemicals plant, which is one of the world’s leading suppliers of industrial chemicals.Both antioxidants and vulcanization accelerators are produced there. The products are used in the tyre industry, but also for technical rubber applications. Lybover METAL came up with a proposal for the conversion of the dryer after a detailed analysis. LANXESS wanted to increase the surface area of an existing stainless steel cone-shaped piece inside their dryer, with the condition to keep the outside as smooth and even as possible and to carry out the whole in one welded part.

Accurate measurement thanks to 3D scan

Lybover METAL started with a point cloud from the inside of the dryer that came from a 3D scan. The advantages of a scan were obvious here. For a manual measurement on the inside of the dryer a scaffold would have to be placed or a person would have to descend from the top with an elevator. This would mean that the chance of measurement errors and inaccuracies was high. The new cone was drawn in the scan on the existing part to make sure that the round seam fits nicely everywhere with the existing part and thus a smooth surface could be obtained.

Additional challenge during installation

An additional challenge was that everything had to be brought into the dryer through a hatch of only Ø900mm. This meant that the cone had to be split into different segments in order to then then put it back together inside. The support needed to hold up the new heavier cone was also modelled using the scan. In addition, Lybover METAL also mapped the required work surfaces and corresponding elevations so that the work could be carried out in a safe and ergonomic manner while maintaining accessibility to all work platforms.

Our employees at Lybover INSTALLATION started by bringing in all parts carefully in the right order along the top of the dryer. Subsequently, all segments were tipped, temporarily supported and fully welded on both the inside and outside. Finally, the final supports were placed and aligned and all welds were grinded up to obtain a smooth even surface with a Ra value (=roughness value) of 0.8µm. The latter was closely monitored by several measurements during the grinding process.

Safety during the works

Together with the customer, we were able to create a safe working environment for our mechanics and welders
– Bram Gevaert, Project Engineer, Lybover METAL

In this project, both the client and Lybover METAL placed great emphasis on clearly identifying all possible risks. This was discussed together and the necessary measures and preparations were made. Because the work was carried out in the dryer, this was considered a ‘tight space’. Besides this, the presence of natural gas in the vicinity was also a possibility. Provisions such as welding shields with filter, tank guard, explosion measurement, ventilation, etc. were therefore necessary.